Last time, I talked about how I discovered one of the best strategies that I can share. When I accidenatlly came up with the “Finish One Thing Day” things really shifted. But what does it actually mean to finish one thing a day. We explore that in today’s episode.

Listen to other episodes of Productivish: Musings of a Distracted Entrepreneur.

Transcription of Finish One Thing a Day

Last week I talked about how making it a habit to finish something every day has made a huge difference in my productivity and consistency. 

But you may be asking:

  • What exactly does “finish at least one thing every single day” mean?
  • Does that mean that I only work on one thing everyday? 
  • Does it mean that I have to start and finish the same thing on a single day? 
  • What about things that take many days, weeks or months to finish?
  • Does it mean that the entire project has to be completed or can it mean that one part of a project needs to be completed?
  • Does it mean that I can never touch that project again? That I can’t improve it at some later date? 
  • What counts? 
  • What doesn’t count? 
  • Does doing one piece of social media count? Does sending a single email count? Does attending or hosting a meeting count? 
  • Who decides?
  • What does finishing actually mean?

These are all questions I grappled with. 

I will talk about some of my thoughts on the criteria for the scope of your one finished thing. But essentially the scope is up to you. You get to decide.

The thing that isn’t negotiable is the essence of that one finished thing: and that is, that the thing is finished.

First, let’s explore the scope a little bit.

I decided 

  • I can still work on more than one project every day (though I try to stick to one project for at least a 2-hour focus session).   
  • It doesn’t mean that I have to start and finish a single thing every day.
  • If a project will take many days, weeks or months to finish, I will need to work on it   for many days, weeks or months. I will probably need to spend significant  time  on these projects for many days.  On most of those days I will not finish these long-term projects. But that doesn’t mean I can’t finish one aspect of that project on any given day but probably not every single day.
  • Yes, parts of the project absolutely count. As long as they are finished. For example, just recording a video or audio podcast doesn’t qualify as finishing it. Just editing the video or audio doesn’t qualify as finishing it. But getting the video or audio uploaded and scheduled, counts as finishing it. Even if there is more to do to turn it into a blog post or repurpose it some other way.
  • How significant does this one thing have to be? As with so many things in life, it depends.  In general, I wouldn’t consider a single piece of social media being scheduled as finishing one thing. But, a series of posts, a week of posts? Those might count. A single email? That might count or might not. Attending or hosting a meeting? Generally I wouldn’t consider that as a finished thing. But there may be situations where it does count.
  • The main thing here is to finish, completely, one thing.
    • You can start off very small and build up gradually. 
    • You can create a list of what you consider to be finishing things and then choose an appropriately sized thing for your energy and time levels on a specific day. Just make sure to have bigger or more difficult things in the mix and not just easy, small things. Remember, you can work on a “thing” over several days or longer and finish it on one of those days. 
    • Perhaps scheduled “finished thing” days work for you? Every Monday you will finish a blog post, every Tuesday you will finish your social media for the next week, and so on. 
    • Choose whatever criteria you want, just make sure you establish some guidelines before doing  this. You can always tweak them later.
  • Your criteria for your one finished thing may change over time. If you’re in a rut, your definition may get more relaxed until you get back into the swing of things, and then your definition of a finished thing may get more stringent. You get to decide.
  • It is important to decide ahead of time what your criteria is for considering something as your one finished thing, even if you decided on that criteria the morning that you plan to finish it.
  • And finally, just because something is finished, doesn’t mean it can never be tweaked again, improved at a later date. You can always go back and improve things after they have gone out into the world

The important thing is, no matter what your criteria for the scope of your one finished thing, your one finished thing has to be finished.

What that means is that it is ready to be consumed by whomever is meant to consume it. It’s ready for distribution. It’s ready for delivery, even if it isn’t perfect. And it will be delivered as is. You can’t call it a finished thing today and go back and tweak it tomorrow.

  If it’s finished, send it out into the world as is.

Next Time

In the next episode of Productiv(ish): Musings of a Distracted Entrepreneur, I am going to dig into what those “finished things” are and how to decide on what “finished” means to you.